Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 3: Still Stuck

This entry is part 3 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 3: Still Stuck

His father squeezed Kevin’s shoulder even as he tried not to let his disappointment show on his face. “Have fun. I should be home soon.”

Kevin and Christy waved him off in the second family hovercar. His mother soon arrived behind them, still dressed in her coveralls.

“Ready? We don’t want you to be late.” His mother grabbed her purse and frowned as Christy hugged Kevin and then headed for the stairs. “Christy, you too.”

Christy paused on the bottom step, her chin resting on the top railing. “Why?”

His mother waved her back. “Because I’m not leaving you at home alone.”

Christy frowned, still not moving. “But I’ll have Nanny-Bot.”

“Nanny-Bot is also going with us. Come on. Get into the car.”

Christy didn’t look at all pleased at the order. She came off the bottom stair, her frown still in place. “It wasn’t my fault.”

His mother sighed softly. “What wasn’t your fault?”

“Nanny-Bot not being able to find me in the garage. I was just playing hide and seek with my dolls.”

Great. That discussion again. One Kevin really didn’t want to get into, not when his own doom waited. “We’ll be late.”

“Right. Need to go.” His mother herded them into the garage where the other hovercar waited. Nanny-Bot followed behind them without saying anything.

As Christy climbed inside she whispered fiercely to Kevin, “I shouldn’t have to come.”

“I didn’t do it,” he whispered back.

“Christy, attitude check,” his mother said from the front console.

Which didn’t put Christy into the best of moods. She settled into one of the chairs as Nanny-Bot closed the door of the hovercar, her displeasure clear in every line of her little body.

“My dolls will not like missing their tea time,” Christy said as they pulled away from the house.

“You can make it up to them when we get back,” Kevin said before his mother could say anything. Nanny-Bot moved between their seats to the empty space in the rear of the hovercar.

“Not the same.”

Kevin wanted to tell her all about his life. About going for a summer sports program he really wasn’t interested in but promised his father he would give a try. He knew the argument that would bring up. Full of wondering what Kevin intended to do with all his free time that summer. Worry that gaming would consume his life.

Not at all the truth. He liked plenty of things other than games. Like programming. Okay, most of that was for module to the games he liked best, but he made a little money off them because his were so good. Wasn’t that a good thing?

Game developers could make a lot of money. If he could program ‘Program Z’ right, he could have a hit on his hands. What would his parents think about that? Since when did Sean or Greg ever earn anything with their sports?

“Do you have everything you need?” his mother asked, turning her seat around while the automated controls of the hovercar took them into the air to one of the skylanes leading into the city.

“Checklist done,” Kevin said, just like his brothers not so long ago. “How long am I staying today?”

“I think the information said several hours this first day while they did placements?” His mother tilted her head and looked up in the way she often did when thinking. “Yes, several hours. Once placements are over, then it will be for a full afternoon.”

“What about us?” Christy asked as she kicked her feet against the bottom of her seat.

“We stay until he’s done. Then we’ll see about arranging rides,” his mother said.

Oh, that only made Christy’s scowl grow worse. “I should have packed my dolls.”

Kevin completely agreed. It would have kept her happy for hours. Not that he would be around her much. Instead, he’d be trying out for things like soccer, football, basketball, hoverball, and who knew what else.

What were the odds he would do well with one of them?

A ringing tone filled the inside of the roomy hovercar. Neither he nor Christy had to ask what it was. Just like they didn’t need to when their father’s watch beeped that special way.

“More work stuff,” Christy announced even as his mother touched a button on her dainty watch to activate her earpiece.

“Elaine Taggert,” his mother answered as she relaxed in her chair. Then she sat bolt upright. “It did what?”

His mother swiveled around to the console, bringing up the destination map. Even as she talked, Kevin could tell she was programming a new route. “No, don’t let them do that. You’ll destroy all our work. I’ll be right there.”

Christy looked over at Kevin. “No sports for you today.”

With his luck?

Oh, he’d still go. He just knew it.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 2: A Sports Family

This entry is part 2 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 2: A Sports Family

Sean and Greg ran inside and grabbed their sport bags. Before they could get far, Nanny-Bot called them back and insisted they show her all the items from the checklist created by their parents. Just as any decent Nanny-Bot would do.

With Christy distracted by going for more facial tissues, Kevin made a dash for his own backpack. Full of stuff he never thought he would have need of. Stuff he never really wanted to use.

“Everyone ready?” his father asked from the living room.

Kevin went down the steps slowly, as if hoping to put off the coming disaster. Not that anything would. Not with his father so determined.

“There he is,” his father said as he reached the bottom of the stairs. His father looked so proud, standing there straight and tall in his white and dark gray Galactic Patrol uniform. Red hair, quick eyes, a rugged face, muscles and body well filled out. Tough but kind all at the same time. Just the sort to make a great Galactic Patrol officer. Sean was well on the way to looking a lot like him.

Kevin? Not so much. Not with his blond hair and slimmer build. His clumsy attempts at anything physical. Not to mention his lack of interest.

Kevin stopped at the base of the stairs, hating to ask, but having to. “Do I really have to go?”

His father came over and guided him into the living room with a hand on his back. “Give the summer program a chance. They have all sorts of sports for you to try. I’m sure you’ll find one you like. It’ll be good for you.”

“It’s fun,” Greg said, nodding from where he waited by the door.

Outside, along the street, a white hovercar pulled up in front of the house. One Kevin recognized as belonging to one of the neighbors.

With its arrival, Nanny-Bot announced, “Sean and Greg, your ride has arrived. Time to leave for your summer programs.”

Sean and Greg waved, with Sean saying as he went out the door, “Might want to take a box of tissues!”

His father gazed down at him, studying his face. “That upset about trying out a few sports?”

Kevin felt his face go red. After all the beating up on his body he’d done with his brothers the last few days, and his father thought he was about to break down crying?

“I said I would try, and I’ll try! He was just talking about my bloody nose.” Kevin slung one of the straps of his backpack over a shoulder.

Which brought up a whole new range of questions, one that Christy was happy to help with. She proudly told ‘Doctor Daddy’ the condition of her patient. Which didn’t help him get his father calmed down.

Something he didn’t need today. He’d tried all sorts of things with Sean and Greg. He was just too clumsy. He tripped himself up far more than any opposing team ever would.

Now, video games? Those he could beat the others in, no matter the game. That was a program he wouldn’t mind going into. A video game design course. Then he could bring to reality the mystery adventure game he’d thought up, tentatively named ‘Project Z’ until he came up with something better.

His father sighed after another round of reassurance. “Just try them out. See if you like one.”

“I will.” Even if it killed him.

A frantic beep came from his father’s wrist. Both Christy and Kevin groaned.

“Tell them you are busy,” Christy told him.

His father shook his head as he lifted his wrist to look at it. “It doesn’t work that way, Christy. If I’m needed, then I’m needed.”

Christy crossed her arms over her chest. “We need you, too.”

“Liam Taggert reporting in,” his father said into the large device around his left wrist.

“Orange alert. Report to your squadron immediately,” a male voice answered.

“Understood.” He lowered his arm, taking a deep breath.

So did Kevin. If his father had to go into Galactic Patrol headquarters, then maybe he wouldn’t have to go to the summer program in town after all? Maybe he could stay home with his mother and Christy to have his own kind of fun? If he missed the orientation today, there would be no reason to go to the program at all this summer.

“Sorry, son. Looks like I can’t drive you in today like I hoped. Have to head in for work early,” his father said, turning his attention back to his two youngest. “I hope you understand.”

Kevin started nodding. “Of course. You’re helping to protect the planet. If they need you, then they need you.”

“I help protect more than only this world,” his father said even as Kevin’s hopes rose. “Now, about you.”

Please?

“Elaine?” his father called towards the back of the house.

His mother, blond hair piled on top of her head and holding a robot arm in one hand, appeared from the back of the house. “Yes? Heading out early?”

“Just got a call.” His father motioned towards Kevin. “I can’t take him into the program today after all.”

“Go, go. I’ll take care of it. Give me a minute.” She turned and headed back to her workshop, robot part in hand. With it, Kevin’s hopes and dreams for the summer disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Rats.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more. So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 1: Beginnings

This entry is part 1 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

You can read the story serially on this website for free, or purchase and read it now in ebook.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | DriveThruFiction | Kobo | Omnilit | Smashwords | Xinxii

***

Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 1: Beginnings

“Incoming enemy forces. All civilian ships institute emergency hyperspace jump to a safe location.”

The message was broadcast in the open. Stars twinkled above the curve of Alpha Centuri Prime as ships obeyed the order.

Other twinkles announced the arrival of forces, both Galactic Patrol and Vordac. The latter to begin their attack on the Galactic Patrol space station and ground base. The former to protect both bases and civilian cities, installations and spaceports.

Only, the Vordac ships continued coming. Creating a shimmering cloud in space from the hyperspace jumps and glowing engines. Primed, at full power, ready to fight. To attack and bring to heel those who defied their self-proclaimed right of rule.

Encrypted Galactic Patrol communications blossomed with worry and updating information. A data-beam informed the main Galactic Patrol base on Earth of the unexpected numbers. The Alpha Centuri base would not be able to hold of this many. How many bases could?

Another twinkle appeared, unnoticed by either side. An unexpected arrival neither side knew of or anticipated.

A surprise the occupants within hoped to use to their advantage. To give the base and the human colony a chance against the mounting Vordac armada.

***

“Block him! Block him!”

Block him how?

Kevin did the only thing he could think of. He sidestepped to tackle Greg from the side.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Kevin’s left foot didn’t quite clear the right foot. He went down in a flail of arms. That he fell into Greg was only a lucky accident.

He heard Sean laughing almost hysterically. Greg grunted as he came to land part on Kevin, and part on the football. For his trouble, Kevin got the tip of Greg’s grass-stained shoe in his face, hitting his nose with a painful jab that had him rolling the other direction to try to protect himself.

Kevin came up to his knees, holding his nose with both hands. “Ow!”

Greg rolled over, slamming the football in the grass next to him, demanding, “That was a tackle?”

Kevin saw Sean’s bigger shoes run into view. His voice cracked as he said, “I guess that’s better than before.”

“Right. First time I nearly break an ankle. Now a bloody nose.” His nasal-voice from holding his nose set both of his older brothers into more laughter.

Which only made Kevin more angry. Or depressed about himself. The two alternated in waves.

Two little shoes of bright pink and purple planted themselves next to him. “Sean Taggert, you are fourteen years old. You know better than to beat up on your little brother.”

“He didn’t beat me up,” Kevin said even as Sean started to protest.

“If he’s going to go into a summer sports program, then he needs to learn sports,” Sean added. “Besides, it was Greg he was trying to tackle.”

Kevin looked up, finding his six-year-old sister Christy with her hands on her hips, her blue skirt flaring out from a ruffled top, eyes blazing as bright as her red hair as she glared up at gangly and long-limbed Sean.

“I’m thinking football isn’t his game,” Greg said. Twelve, but with muscles and fine motor skills well advanced of his twelve years of age. Kevin cringed when he suggested, “What about soccer?”

Right. Soccer. His legs and knees would be one mass sea of bruises after only a few minutes.

“No more today. Shoo. Time for a nurse to step in,” Christy told them in no uncertain terms, pushing them away.

“You aren’t a nurse,” Greg said. He ducked away when she waved at him away.

“Go! Play with Sean.” Christy showed her strength by pulling at Kevin’s arm, nearly knocking him over. “To the hospital with you!”

“They were just trying to help me,” Kevin told her as she led him off the front lawn and into the house. He should go back outside and try a few other things. After all, he would soon meet his doom. Any and all practice was vital if he wanted to survive.

“Helping you bleed.” She pushed him into a dining room chair. “Now, let me look.”

“It’s already stopped bleeding.” The fact he still sounded nasal probably didn’t help convince her.

“Yeah, right.” She made him sit still as she doctored him up with face tissues and a wet wash cloth.

“Greg is right. You were born mothering everyone,” Kevin said, sitting and taking it. It meant a little more time before getting beaten up in the name of good wholesome sports.

Christy scrunched up her face. “Someone has to help Mom out with a house full of boys.”

And lucky him, at the second youngest at ten, he got to be the one she mothered the most.

Greg poked his head inside. “What about basketball? We haven’t tried that lately.”

“No trying to kill Kevin!” Christy shouted at him before Kevin could respond.

“Siblings are not allowed to kill each other,” Nanny-Bot said, hovering into the room barely above the floor. The upper body looked just like human, complete with smooth articulating mouth and eyes. The bottom fused to come to a disk base with the hovering mechanism.

One of the many robots who helped in the house, Nanny-Bot was the most intelligent and expensive. But with four kids in their family and both parents working, it made sense to make the expenditure. At least, that was what he’d heard his parents say over the diner table when discussing finances.

“Greg, inform Sean we shall soon leave. Kevin, your father will drive you. Please prepare yourself.” Nanny-Bot continued on her way into the kitchen with a few dishes.

Right. Prepare for his doom. And here it came, with rocket thrusters on.

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

Support the story by throwing a tip my way if it makes you happy. Buy my other books for more reading joy. Comments have been known to result in warm fuzzies. Spread the word, tell a friend, or add a link to the story for even more.  So many ways to gather warm happy fuzzies!

Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

2014 Word Count and Revision Tracker Spreadsheet Updated

2014 Word Count and Revision Tracker Spreadsheet Updated
Nemo / Pixabay

I discovered a calculating error in the “2014 Word Count and Revision Tracker” offered under the “Writing Freebies” tab. One that miscalculated the grand total of each and every month.

OOPS!

At the start of March, the mistake was very obvious. So, tonight I set about correcting the issue. New files have been uploaded and are now available for download.

Don’t know what this is? Here you go:

2014 Word Count and Revision Tracker – This is a yearly writing goal spreadsheet that is designed to set up goals per week. It provides two ways of tracking writing progress over a year: New Word Count and Revision Word Count. What constitutes a writing “Work Week” can be chosen, which will adjust all daily statistics automatically. While most of the spreadsheet is set up to account for progress on a weekly basis, it will still provide how many words per day you need, as well as telling you in the stats area how many words you need the next day. NOTE: This spreadsheet is updated and posted on this site every year.

2014 WordCount Tracker TEMPLATE Open Office
2014 WordCount Tracker TEMPLATE Excel